Investors across the globe have expressed confidence in the Nigerian Food and Beverage market and have shown high readiness to invest in the segment of the economy.
They made this known at the maiden edition of the Food & Beverage West Africa Exhibition organised by United Kingdom based firm, B to B Events.
The three- day event held in Lagos, had in attendance over 150 food & beverage exhibitors and 5000 visitors from within and outside the country, who were exposed to trends, opportunities and innovations in the sector, in addition to the business and networking windows open to them.
The Food & Beverage sector is reported to be the largest segment of the Nigerian manufacturing industry estimated at €16.5bn in aggregate output and generating 1 5.m jobs.
According to the Association of Fast Food and Confectioners of Nigeria, the Nigeria food industry alone is worth over one N1trillion.
In view of this, Managing Director of B to B Events, Mr. Jamie Hill explained that the huge prospects and positive outlook presented by the sector informed the choice of Nigeria’s venue for the fair coupled with investors interest to establish their foothold in the country.
Revealing that Nigerian businesses made up 40 per cent of the over 150 exhibitors, Hill said: “This will enable local SMEs to benefit from the annual platform and showcase what they have to offer alongside the local and international power houses across sectors. By offering local businesses opportunity to participate, we hope to facilitate their growth in the market and work towards the long-term goal of increasing local production and exports from Nigeria across the region.
Also present at the exhibition, was a former Commissioner for Commerce and Industry in Ogun State, Bimbo Ashiru, who saw the fair as an avenue to draw foreign direct investment (FDI), into the country and promote the local content, most especially as Nigeria looks to be among the largest economies in year 2020.
He however urged government to put more efforts in making the business environment friendly for investors.
“What we need is the enabling environment from government for businesses to thrive. Once this is there, I can tell you the sky is the starting point because Nigeria is full of opportunities.
Talking about the ease of doing business today, we have moved from over 170 in global ranking to 146.
The target is to probably move to 80 or 70 and there is no reason why we can not achieve that. All we need to do is to create that environment.”
The fair also enjoyed wide sponsorship from local and foreign companies including Just Food, NASCO, Restaurant and Food Services Proprietor Association of Nigeria (REFSPAN), National Association of Supermarket Owners of Nigeria (NASON) and SPAR, amongst others.